Clause 71 - Review of DST

Part of Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 1st July 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 4:00 pm, 1st July 2020

It is a pleasure to be called to speak in this debate and make a few short comments. None of us can accept the argument that tax is boring, because it is not boring. Tax is a necessity: it is necessary for building a recovery and it is necessary for helping others. On the earlier earlier about the help we can give to other countries through DFID—and through the new Department and the new Minister who will have this responsibility—I am very much in support of helping out countries in other parts of the world where we need to be.

I want to speak to new clauses 5 and 33 and amendments 18 and 19 in relation to the digital services tax. I work with my local high street to attempt to see businesses reopen and not shut their doors, and a large part of my efforts over this last period of time as an elected representative, along with others, has been to help point them towards the dual concept of online sales as well as a high street presence. I suppose many of those shops have a small online presence but some do not, and I am very keen to work with the Government—here at Westminster, but also the Northern Ireland Assembly, including my own colleague and friend, the Economy Minister—to ensure that the opportunity of having an online business or increasing online business is there to help.

For many, the ability to make ends meet strictly on the high street has been curtailed owing to lack of footfall and to more people learning to shop online during the crisis, when that was all they could do. Others have referred to us—indeed, I think it was Margaret Thatcher who referred to us—as a nation of shopkeepers. I have to make a confession that my mum and dad were shopkeepers. From a very early age, I can recall that we owned a shop—the post office—in Clady outside Strabane.